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NMCDC: Building a Strong Foundation for Community Health

Cari Cuffney

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Our neighborhoods – the places we live, work, and play – serve as the foundation for our overall health and wellbeing. That foundation starts with access to safe, stable, and affordable housing, and is strengthened by the social connections we find in our neighborhoods – the ability to borrow a cup of sugar, swap childcare duties, and support (and be supported by) our neighbors when they (and we) need it the most.

By building affordable housing and engaging in community organizing, North Missoula Community Development Corporation is building healthy neighborhoods and communities of opportunity in which everyday people of all ages, abilities, and means can live, work, and play. The NMCDC is a leader in Montana, applying innovative approaches including community land trusts, housing cooperatives, and the Community Rising for Equity and Well-being (CREW) community organizing model. Executive Director Bob Oaks says he’d “like the community to find a louder voice” and staff member Brittany Palmer says the long-term goal is to “de-commodify housing” so that all Missoulians can afford to live, work, and play in the community they love.

In the Headwaters service area of Western Montana, population growth during the pandemic has been especially acute – Western Montana has 45% of the state population but experienced 70% of the in-migration to Montana from 2020 to 2021, which has exacerbated pressures on home affordability. Headwaters is proud to support the North Missoula Community Development Corporation in their efforts to develop affordable housing and communities of opportunity in Missoula for all our neighbors at this crucial moment for our communities. Find out how to get involved with NMCDC’s work at nmcdc.org/get-involved and perhaps we’ll see you at one of the NMCDC’s Missoula Outdoor Cinema events this summer!